364 Tasting Notes


Not always the biggest fan of white teas, but I do have my favourite Bai Mu Dan and Silver Needle. Never had a white pu’erh until I’ve tried Mandala’s teas.

Another first is the look of this tea. Very unusual cute little white buds, they are just perfect. The look like mini pinecones.

Since it’s my first experience with this type of tea, I diligently followed Mandala’s instructions (If you know me, you know I’m usually not so good at following “the rules”!)

The brewed liquor is really pale, almost colourless.

This is sweet and fresh at the same time, it reminds me of the purest maple water. It’s almost candy sweet and It’s got that soft mineral alkalinity, it’s round and velvety in the mouth. It’s similar to some yellow tea I really love. It’s subtle, but there’s still a nice distinct pu’erh earthiness to it.

Awww…I’ve fallen in love with so many teas lately! Thought I was all set with my usuals, and now I keep adding to my staple list. That’s your fault Garret! (And Dexter3657’s, and Sil’s, lol!) But that’s what I call a good problem, is it not?

It was pretty spectacular, it provided a beautiful relaxation moment… This was a blind buy and I’m so happy I went for it. It reminded me of happy times when I was just a little girl.

My grand father was everything to me, he was a mentor and his influence made me who I am today. He was a hard working farmer, and a maple syrup producer. He was a master at transforming quenching maple water into the most amazing treat ever. I’d spend hours at the sugar shack watching him perform his art. He’d let me drink the maple water directly from the bucket that had collected the precious nectar from maple trees. If you ever tasted maple sap, you know it’s unlike any other beverage. Here, we now find maple water at the grocery store, just like coconut water. Not quite as good and fresh as having it directly from the tree but close enough!

This tea was a good reminder of those happy memories…


Beautiful memory. :-)


Thanks Morgana! This tea is just AMAZING!


Nice note!


Wow, that’s an amazing story. :)


Thanks JC and Fjellrev, tea inspiration :-)


That’s so neat! Maple is awesome. :)


Maple water definitively didn’t reach yet my part of the world !I need to try this. Grand parents are often a big part of what we are, I miss mines


I would love to try maple water. Sounds amazing!


Ysaurella & Stephanie, I really hope that maple water sold in stores reaches your part of the world eventually :-) It is something new even here, about time someone thought about the fact that there’s a market for it.


I got some of this on the way! Maple water sounds great TeaFairy! We do molasses in my neck of the woods.


Well its only my interpretation of it, maybe you’ll find molasses in yours mrmopar :-)
I just hope you enjoy its purity and unusualness as much as I did…let me know!


We have birch tree water in Russia. We used to joke that its just water with sugar added. is maple water clear or have some color?


Boychik, that’s interresting, I never heard of birch tree water before, do you make syrup out of it like we do with maple? Yes, maple water is clear.

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drank Earl Grey Cream by Zen Tea
364 tasting notes

This morning I made fresh peanut butter to have with my toasts. It was warm and so creamy, I ate a big spoonful before spreading it!

Not all teas make the peanut butter list. (K S already know that) I usually have my regular straight Assam, Yunnan and Keemun to pair with it. Don’t like any flavoured tea with it.
You have to understand that I’m picky cause peanut butter is considered heaven food in my household.

K S mentioned in a recent post that earl grey came highly recommended on his PBJ tea list so I made a mental note of that (I personally am more of a purist, I prefer classic unaltered PB on my toasts, I ditched the J a long time ago).

So, I chose this favourite Earl of mine. I usually prefer this version cause the creamy part mellows the bergamot I sometimes find offensive in blends. The reason I like it so much is that unlike other EGC, this one doesn’t scream vanilla. I don’t mind vanilla when it’s done right, but it can be heavy and a little sickening to me. Here, it just rounds the edges of Miss Bergamot. It’s a perfect cup! And yes, it complimented wonderfully my PB toasts this morning.

So K S, thank you, earl grey officially makes THE PB list!!!


Wow, making fresh peanut butter! That’s ambition.

Mmm, this one is wonderful.


Lol, no merits here, it’s actually super easy when you have the tools. I have a high power blender (vitamix). I just buy a jar of roasted peanuts, and in 30 seconds I have fresh warm peanut butter! I make a one week provision every week end, it’s not really cheaper but it tastes so good, once you start you can’t stop!!


Nice! I read those vitamix blenders are very powerful. Maybe if I ever get a blender I’ll get that one. :)


Lol, I think I should just work for them, I’ve been such an ambassador since I got mine, I’ve convinced many people to buy one. It’s just a life changer, it makes hot soup within 10 minutes, it actually cooks by friction! So yes, hope you get to have one someday, much more than just a blender…


Wow, they’re expensive! Just looked it up. I had no idea they cook by friction. I was wondering why the peanut butter was warm haha.


When I have PB I like it on a Ritz. I do this often as PB is definitely heaven food. I often toast PBJ sandwiches in a skillet. Yumm. This is making me hungry. lol I have never made PB. The ‘natural’ ones I have bought seem to separate really bad. Maybe they have been on the shelf too long?


Oh, and if PB is heaven food (and it is), then EG is heaven drink. Sorry Sil, deal with it. ha


Heaven food: buttermilk donuts, lemon meringue pie, meat loaf (well, that’s soul food).


Fjellrev, yes it’s quite an investment and I first thought you had to be nuts to pay that kind of money for a blender, lol! Turns out it is worth every penny, as it replaces so many appliances…

K S, agreed that earl grey is also heaven drink, just like jasmine tea, it’s been part of my life since childhood…
I am so going to try a grilled PB sandwich now! Think it works without the jam??
Yes, can’t stand store bought natural peanut butter, they’re so hard to mix with all that oil on top. But when you do it yourself, you don’t have that problem, it doesn’t separate cause you put it in the fridge right away. So good!


Lol, gmathis, thank god it’s dinner time, so hungry!!!


You “ditched the j a long time ago” ? You ditched the j ?!!!? Why did you ditch the j ? Poor j ….. It’s ok j I still love you. I’ll take the j – you can have the icky bergamot stuff ;))


Hahaha! Oh Dexter, aren’t you the funny one…yeah, thanks for taking care of poor J.
(Bergamott hater!!!)


I probably need to retry with Fresh PB because olala this food is kind of mystery …why does my daughter love that…(skippy brand)


Haha, Ysaurella, just saw your comment, we also have the infamous Skippy here, that stuff is so sweet, I call it peanut jam! I can’t stand it and don’t like the natural PB found in stores, nothing like making your own with fresh roasted arachides, I highly recommend but don’t take Skippy away from your daughter, she will hate me :-)

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drank Morning Sun by Mandala Tea
364 tasting notes

Thanks you Dexter3657 for this special offering…

First, I do realize I a m drinking Morning Sun at night. Well, I checked and I couldn’t find any Evening Moon in my cupboard…besides, nothing stipulates that it should be drunk only in the morning, right?

The leaves are so pretty, they look like sunny little spirals. I basket brewed for only 3 min. as I watched and smelled the beautiful golden liquid, I knew it was enough. I’m usually a heavy steeper, but this tea is quite potent.

It may sound a little weird, but I get the sharpness of green peppers in this tea. But it’s also sweet and slightly woodsy. It feels thick and dusty in the mouth, it’s kind of hard to explain. I also get something reminiscent of a baked potato peel, earthy and roasted. I like it a lot. It has floral notes to top it all. It does have similarities to some Golden Monkey I’ve had, but I find this to be more complex.

Most of the time, I don’t re-steep black teas unless I gongfu brew. But this one had a lot more to give, the leaves were not fully unfurled, I managed to get three very tasty infusions.

So glad I made this part of my recent Mandala order, I know I have many more cups to come, and yes, will be able to experience the joy of having it in the morning!

Thanks Dexter3657 for another tasty treat :-)


Now the tea gods will curse you for drinking a morning tea at night!


Haha! I know, was so afraid of that…jeez, what’s a tea god curse, 7 years of bad tea???


It’s ok—it’s always morning somewhere!


Hahaha just stay away from Teavana and I’m sure you’ll avoid the bad tea issue.


Lol, keychange, we used to say the opposite back in the days when we’d start drinking again at 10am after a sleepless night, those were the days. OMG the thought of it now makes me sick, I’m so old!!!!!

Fjellrev, staying away from Teavana is very easy, haha!


I love this one. Yum! It’s that green chile element that keeps me coming back, so unique and sounds weird for tea, but tastes good!


Oh, ifjuly, green chilli is even more precise, lol! I’ve only had red chillis, so I woudn’t know, are they spicy?
To me the green bell pepper came to mind because the tea might be sweet but it also has that sharpness and freshness found in green peppers. Isn’t it hard to explain? I just know it’s there, lol.

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On a good or a bad day, I have tea. Yes, it’s part of my life everyday. It’s something that brings me pleasure no matter how shitty my day is. I’ll take pleasure over happiness. Happiness isn’t reliable, you can’t expect to be happy everyday even if you want to. But you can experience the pleasure of having tea everyday :-)

Tea pleasure is reliable and measurable. This one is proof to my theory. It’s not a concept, but a moment in time that exists and is seizable, a simple pleasure in its purest form.

It is with such a pride that I broke a piece of my first sheng cake today. I know I have already reviewed this tea not long ago. This is just a quick addition.

It is stunning… a mossy-earthy-smoky feel and fresh minty grassy notes that make it so enjoyable… if that’s even possible, it tastes better than the first time I had it!

Dexter3657, I must thank you again for sending a sample in the first place.

(See previous note)


Very philosophical! ;-)


i love this tea.


Sherapop, I guess this tea is making a philosopher out of me :-)

Sil, how much exactly do you love this tea????


I love it too :)


I love it! probably more than i love what starts at 32:01


Very beautiful philosophical note. I love it!


Thanks Kamyria :-)

Sil: hahaha!!! Of course only YOU could come up with an answer like that…you made me work there, little missy, had to find the exact spot! Good thing I looove me some Parrell <3


(Oops, I meant “Pharrell”)


those stupid things dancing kills me… i’ve been laughing for days…


Yes, and lucky me, now they will be in my head just like the swedish chef has been for I don’t know how many days now, thanks to you!!!
(Are you messing with me? What just happened to Heffalump???)


wall-e wanted to play…


I love this note. You describe the importance of pleasure so perfectly. Thank you!!

Terri HarpLady

Beautiful review, fun video. I love you guys, you make me smile :)


Fab review. So very, vry true.


Are we not a crazy bunch? I think so and may lead the pack!


Aww, you guys are so awesome, thank you :-)

Haha! Mrmopar, yes we are…where else can you find at the same spot references to philosophy, sheng, Heffalump, Wall-e and weird tall yellow dancing mascots????

Terri HarpLady

and don’t forget profanity! LOL


Oh Terri, how could I forget about the most enjoyable part???


Nothing to add but a smile. Good way to start my morning.

Charles Thomas Draper

I’m ordering it right now based on your review and my love of Sheng


Charles, I don’t have your knowledge with Sheng, but I don’t think you are taking much of a risk by ordering this one, let us know how you enjoy it later :-)

Charles Thomas Draper

I will. Thank you. :)


hi Fairy, you are a good writer…very poetique:)


Thanks ligongsf, drinking this tea is very inspirational :-)

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drank China Keemun by Zen Tea
364 tasting notes

This tea is a regular but I ran out about 2 months ago and just restocked on it now. When I opened my order today (in a frantic fashion as usual), I fetched it out quickly cause I wanted it now!!

Im not one to seek after smoky teas, therefore, Keemun can be a real hit or a real miss for me. I like the more fruity type of Keemun, such as this one.

The smell is smoky, but very lightly, and even more so in the taste. Smoky in a way an egg would be when fried in bacon fat, yum!

The light smoke blends perfectly with the natural saltiness I find in it. Lol, did I just write that this tea basically reminds me of salt, bacon and eggs?
Winning combination, is it not? Need I to mention this is the perfect tea for brunch and breakfast.

But the main characteristics are the rich cocoa feel and fruitiness of this tea. It has no astringency, even when brewed longer (5 min. for me) and it is naturally sweet in a dried fruit kind of way. I personally would’t think of adding anything to it since it is so tasty, but this is the kind of tea that would sustain milk and sugar for sure. (And if your name is Sil, a dash of maple syrup would make it heavenly good!)

Zen Tea might not carry a zillion different types of the same teas, but I realize I hold many staples from them: a Darjeeling, an Assam, a Keemun, an Earl Grey…that tells me that Kenneth the owner chooses wisely what he decides to carry.

IMHO, This is tea is a steal and it compares to any higher end Keemun, it well deserves its permanent stash status in my cupboard!

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This was sent to me by the wonderful Sil.

Having this tea as I’m getting ready to go out.

Whoa! Did not expect to like it this much. I have no idea what’s in a French Breakfast, and Mariage Frères not giving any detailed info on most of their blends, there’s no way of knowing. It bugs me cause I like to know exactly what I’m having.

The smell once brewed gave me the impression it was going to be smoky. Not in a Lapsang kind of way, but more of a Keemun. Smoky yes, but it doesn’t taste nearly as much as it smells and that makes me happy. Not a fan of heavy smoke. I forgot to examine the dry blend of my sample, but from the look of the picture and the taste, I would think golden tip Assam, and maybe Darjeeling and Ceylon? I’m just guessing here, from the level of fruitiness and astringency. (I steeped a good five minutes, 2 tsp in a 12oz mug.)

Anyways, whatever is in there, it’s a lovely tea, gave me the kick I needed to go and accomplish undesired duties!

Thanks a lot Sil, really digging this one :-)


yay!! i like this one, but i like american breakfast a little more.. but if you ever wat/need more just let me know..i have a full tin of this that i’m gradually working through


Aww, thanks sil! Will keep in mind…

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As I was about to go to bed after closing all the lights, I noticed a halo illuminating the entire kitchen. I stood in front of the bay window and realized it was a full moon tonight…Blue shadows everywhere, the moonlight caressing the surface of the snow, creating the illusion of a vast carpet made of a thousand sparkling diamonds. Breathtaking.

No way I was going to bed…took my gongfu set and boiled some water. Decided I was gonna have a meditative tea session in silence with Miss Moon.

This tie guan yin was an excellent choice. It is everything I love about high mountain oolong. Very floral, buttery and sweet, but also juicy and refreshing. There’s a pure crystalline quality about this tea, a breath of fresh air.

Stayed there for a full hour. I kept staring at the night, the imagery was picturesque, I tell you, the only thing missing was the wolf howling at the moon!

My head is full of beauty from the scenery but also, from this magnificent tea, I think I can sleep now…

(See previous note)


I too love moonlight on the snow…


seems magic


loved this review! ;)


Beautiful review… Last night was indeed magickal… I love full moon nights.


Thanks…moonlight on the snow makes me feel I’m in my own little fairy world, it is magical indeed! it’s been a while since we’ve had such a clear sky at night around here, had to take advantage.

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Time to update this profile of mine…it’s 2015!!

I am French Canadian, so please forgive me if my English is not always perfect :-/

My relationship with tea in a nutshell:

I’m married to straight Black. I have torrid love affairs with Oolong and Puerh. I party with Green and White occasionally. Flavored are not my BFF, I usually stay away from them.

Love Steepster, a place for tea lovers, where you learn and share with others.

About me:

I am a free spirit, I let people be who they are and expect the same in return.

Books! I love classic literature, but also modern and pretty much anything that captures my attention.

Music is also something I can’t live without… From Bach to Nirvana, my ears know no boundaries…

Animal and nature lover, amateur photographer.

I’ve been drinking tea for as long as I can remember.

Drinking tea is a sensorial experience. The name in itself “Camellia Sinensis” lingers the promess of an adventure for the senses…

Not a big «swapper», but will occasionally. Not because I don’t want to share but because I’m trying not to hoard so much.

Also, I have narrowed down the teas I really like over the years, and I don’t feel the need to try and buy everything the way I used to. (Maybe I have become a tea snob? Sigh…)

My ratings: because I pretty much drink only teas that I judge exceptional, my ratings are usually high. Don’t be shocked to see lots of 90’s and a few 100’s. That’s because I’ve had my share of crapy teas and I’m done with that ;-)

You can find me on Instagram here, I post about my tea sessions mostly, but also about the beautiful nature that surrounds me, and my fury companions :-)



The Laurentians, Canada

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